Mom. My mom was incredible. She was the bravest person in the world, in my eyes. She was a double amputee, having lost her legs to diabetes. Everyone who knew her could see how brave she was, how she fought to maintain her dignity and grace under extraordinarily difficult circumstances. She tried to make it seem as if not having legs was “no big deal” when, in fact, it was a huge deal all day every day.
She was in pain all the time and not some measly small amount of pain like “I have a headache”-kind of a pain but excruciating pain. She had the kind of pain that would and should have knocked her out cold. She took pain medications that should have knocked her out cold. She was on them all: Oxycodone, Oxycotin, Oxy-this and Oxy-that and Demerol and the list goes on and on. She was on the big hitters, but she went about her life like nothing was wrong. I made sure she had what she needed when it was needed and that her supply of pain dope continued without ceasing to keep her life as comfortable as possible, but she knew pain. She had that kind of pain, but she’d do everything in her power to make sure her neighbor got help getting her groceries or that someone who needed help doing laundry would get it. She would check on her neighbors and friends and her sisters to make sure they were well cared for and happy and as healthy as they could be.
She made sure her children were as happy as they could be. She kept a close watch on all of her children, calling us to make sure we did as she’d trained us to do throughout life. She loved her God and prayed daily for a rescue from her pain and suffering. She had kidney failure, which is extremely painful, but she put up with it. When the time came for her to choose to continue the painful life she lived with dialysis or die with grace, she took the escape route. I don’t blame her for doing it. I would have done the same thing in her place. And she died with dignity. I made sure she did. She showed great courage and strength and grace, so much so that she’d leave her doctors in tears. They were amazed at that kind of courage, and so was I. She was the wind beneath my wings in every sense of the word and a remarkable woman. I could never live up to the example she set for me, but by God, every day she inspires me to try.